This weekend was our first time attending Long Beach Comic Con, which took place at the Long Beach Convention Center September 12-13, 2015! Violet has already provided a recap of our Saturday experience, so here Josh provides our Sunday LBCC recap, which included the Buffy the Vampire Slayer panel and a Q&A with John Barrowman! Following the recap, both Josh and Violet share their final thoughts about their experience at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con. You can then find our Sunday Photo Gallery at the bottom of the page.
If you missed Violet’s Saturday LBCC recap, click here!
So, today was my first full day of Long Beach Comic Con. I had gone yesterday, Saturday, but was only there for a couple hours. We parked at The Pike parking lot, which is a short ways away from the Convention Center. The area had quite a bit of people buzzing about, but it wasn’t too crazy yet. We took some photos of the various cars on display–there was a KITT from Knight Rider, a couple Jurassic Park jeeps, a Joker mobile and a Batmobile.
By the Jurassic Park jeeps there was a robotic triceratops dinosaur. Someone’s dog decided to go investigate the dinosaur, and the dinosaur blinked as the dog approached. This caused the dog to jump and freak out for a split second. It was a pretty funny scene.
After the cars, we headed into the hall, but it was only 9:45am, and the hall opened at 10. We decided to get in line, which was up a staircase, on the second story. The line was fairly long, but not too bad. Within about 5 minutes of the hall opening, Violet and I were in. We did some walking about the convention hall for a few. Since I had walked the hall the day before, I showed Violet some of the more interesting stuff, such as the Impala from Supernatural, the Turtle Van from TMNT, the TARDIS and a pretty well dressed 10th Doctor, and a few other things spotted while walking around. Our first panel today was at 10:30am though, so we had to head out pretty quickly, and head to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic panel.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Room 104A, 10:30am-11:30am
Georges Jeanty (who was a bit late), Megan Levens, Christos Gage, and Nicholas Brendon were in attendance for the panel. Both Georges Jeanty and Megan Levens were artists for the Buffy comic, Christos is the writer of the comic, and Nicholas Brendon played Xander on the TV series, and is also a collaborative writer for the comics now.
The panel discussed how the stories came together, and it turned out to be Joss Whedon who put this comic together. They discussed how each comic book season they have a summit, which is a collaboration of various TV show writers for Buffy, Joss and the writers. The artists also talked about their getting involved in the show. Georges was asked by Joss himself to join the comic, and Megan came later on, and was brought on by an editor.
They also discuss the working of the artists with the writers, and it turns out that aside from a few specific scenes, the writers give the artists pretty good control. Joss seemed to be a bit more involved with it when he was further involved at the start, but Christos says that the artist should work with the writers equally, unless there is a very specific, important reason to give specific directions.
Georges also talked about drawing the characters for the comic, and trying to catch the mannerisms that the actor would put into the character. Also, the artists think of specific scenes from the show for inspiration, because it helps the artists draw the character they have to. A funny aside that Nicholas Brendon talks about is how he had to stop working out when he was on Buffy because he started looking “too good.” Another thing that came up in the show is that Nicholas Brendon was sort of “Joss” put into the Buffy-verse, a way to put an ordinary person into that world.
Christos talks about how each series is constructed, and they discuss how each season is about a “real person’s” problem, such as dating, etc., he explains. At the summit, the basics of the story is outlined, and Christos would contact Joss with details to discuss how the season should move forward. The seasons are every two years, and they said that it has been a while since they have had a summit, so it looks like they might be due. But everyone seemed to enjoy working with Joss Whedon (other than Megan who hasn’t worked with him), and described Joss as very collaborative when they worked on the stories for Buffy.
Moving back to the artists, they discuss that generally to capture the essence of these characters, they find a feature and accentuate it. Nicholas Brendon became concerned about this, and asked who had the biggest chin–turned out that he has the biggest chin and eyebrows. This freaks him out a bit, but Georges calms him down, telling him he is a good looking guy, it is just difficult to get that on the page.
One big thing that came out of the panel is that according to Nicholas Brendon, Joss Whedon wrote the part of Captain Mal from Firefly specifically for him, but since Buffy went to season seven, and Fox wanted Firefly made right away, Nicholas wasn’t able to accept the part. Nicholas Brendon seemed a little bitter about this still. Playfully at least. That sure would have changed the show drastically. I am kind of curious to see how that would have been, as it is hard to see the character as anyone other than Nathan Fillion now!
There were quite a bit of spoilers to the comic in the panel, which I will avoid telling here, just in case readers decide to pick up the comics later. There are some pretty funny and crazy reveals, that made me want to pick up where I left off on the comics!
The panel finished up with audience questions. One question asked how deliberate and symbolic the sets were, and like I would think, the panel says that some of it might be intentional, but a lot of it might be coincidental or more of a subconscious decision.
Overall, the panel was a great insight to both the TV show and the comics, which I need to catch up on. Some of the spoilers that were unfortunately ruined for me really made me intrigued to see how it turned out in the comics.
John Barrowman, Room 104B, 1:00pm-2:00pm
So, after the Buffy panel, we moved on towards the John Barrowman room as we knew there would be a crowd. It was only about 11:30am and the panel wasn’t until 1pm, but as we thought, people had already begun lining up. We took a seat in line, and since we had the time, Violet did some reconnaissance for food, discovering some meatball sandwiches. As the time drew close to 1pm, the doors finally opened, and we were able to make our way into the hall and take a seat.
So after a little set up, the John Barrowman panel got under way. It started out prehistoric though, as John Barrowman delayed the panel a couple seconds to take a picture with a dinosaur. This was a pretty awesome dinosaur though, as someone was inside walking it, and it looked so real, it was a little creepy! John Barrowman invited the dinosaur into the panel, and Barrowman hammed it up with the dinosaur, causing a flurry of cameras capturing photos of John being “maimed” by a fake dinosaur.
After the dinosaur made its way out, John began the panel with a funny story of when he was on a plane. He explained that when he gets on a plane, he typically leans on the window, which accomplishes two tasks: 1) It’s more comfortable, and 2) it lets him “leak out” gas… He continued on with this story and how his husband Scott was sitting behind him because they weren’t able to get seats together, and he talks about how he eventually woke up to see the other people sitting in his row not actually sitting, but standing in the aisle. Barrowman said that one of them asked him if he had to “use the bathroom” because of how bad it stunk. This got the room in an uproar of laughter. I guess one think you can say about Barrowman–he isn’t shy one bit!
As per the usual Barrowman panel, the panel turned into a Q&A, with audience members taking turns being called on for questions. The first question Barrowman gets is a serious one (which gets interrupted by a phone call from his husband Scott, which John puts on speakerphone). But the question is asking for advice for helping LGBT teenagers, and John Barrowman tries to explain that if you have to give them specific advice like “don’t give up,” Barrowman says that provides the connotation that there is something wrong, and people shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves. He also says that kids living with their parents should follow their parents’ rules until they’re 18 and make a decision at that point how they should continue their adult life. Another thing that John revealed too, is he is opening a center for LGBT kids who are kicked out of their house, which is a really nice thing to do. But Barrowman says that kids will eventually find out who they are.
Another person asks about people gossiping behind their back, and how Barrowman would handle it. John talks about specific time this happened, and said that despite his husband’s protest, he decided to confront this person. The person he confronted had heard from someone else that Barrowman was “a complete a**hole” because he was rude to people. He asked this person who said this, and then says that if you go back and look into his past, there isn’t a lot of Barrowman being a jerk, so if he told this person off, they must have deserved it.
Then Barrowman gets a softball–but it is from a 8 year old kid, so I guess it is fine. The question is “Why are you so awesome?” Barrowman’s simple answer is to be yourself.
The next question asks which medium between stage or TV that Barrowman prefers. Barrowman says he doesn’t like to choose, as the “fandom” will “never” let him change his mind. But he gives some pluses to both–Stage gives immediate feedback from the audience, and television takes a couple years. Television hits more people though. He also says that stage sets have more purpose to the set design, while on TV the camera provides more of the direction for the actors. But in the end, for the question, he says he likes what he does.
Continuing on, a girl asks him which character he would like to play. He has a simple answer–he has played who he wants to. But he says as a kid he wanted to be Captain America and Iron Man. He gets a little blue again talking about the Doctor Who and Captain Jack outfit he uses with his husband at home. But he brings it back PG with telling a quick tidbit about he and his husband wearing Captain America and Wolverine masks in First class on a plane and freaking out the passengers. He also goes off into saying how musical actors didn’t really do much TV before he did it, and thinks he may have opened that door.
Another question comes asking about more Torchwood coming, and Barrowman says there are audio plays out which are continuing the show. Barrowman also talks about the book he and his sister wrote which BBC signed off on, and continues the story.
Moving on again, the next questioner asked about some funny stories on set. In Arrow apparently David Ramsey and Barrowman are discussing how Barrowman has to pass some gas and how his doesn’t have a scent, to which David Ramsey is amazed to hear. All the while, Stephen Amell is filming a scene. Turns out while Amell was doing his scene, he heard the whole thing, and after the scene ended yelled, “Fart in my mouth and prove it!” which became a joke on set. The second one Barrowman talked about was Barrowman being rescued from a cement block on Torchwood, and he was filming the scene nude. Apparently Barrowman thought it would be funny to “warm ‘it’ up”, and described the reaction of the cast coming up to him. Apparently this scene is the one that was actually used in the episode they were filming. To top it off, since they were filming in a quarry, and he was bare foot, Barrowman used maxi pads for protection, which ended up soaking up a ton of water, and getting really heavy. Another quick story that Barrowman had was when Eve Myles (who played Gwen Cooper) was getting ready, with rollers in her hair, Barrowman decided to put his “unit” through it, take a selfie, with her, and use that photo as her ring tone.
Barrowman is then asked about his excitement for being the Face of Boe, which he tells a story about David Tennant freaking out, and asking Barrowman if he read the script, and this happened for a few days, until Barrowman read it, and then Barrowman freaked out apparently. Then Barrowman talks about learning about Malcolm Merlyn in Arrow becoming Ra’s al Ghul, and he said that it was more like a “Yes!”, and did a sort of fist pump. Apparently Barrowman has learned that his character is going to be in the show for the long haul, which Barrowman is excited about.
On a related note, another questioner asks about rumors of Green Lantern being in Arrow he plays coy, and says he doesn’t know. Based on his reaction it seems like it could be true, but he could have been just playing with the crowd as well. Then he was asked about Doctor Who, and working with Capaldi, but Barrowman said that the BBC hasn’t asked him, and he would return if they asked.
Then Barrowman gets a serious question–who would Barrowman recruit to take over the world and how would he do it? Barrowman seemed to have thought about this before. He had a pretty long explanation which was him recruiting heroes from his shows, then somehow going to alternate universes where the recruits’ alter egos have the powers their characters they play have, and somehow using the TARDIS to maintain the space-time continuum. He would also have Wil Wheaton’s Star Trek counterpart beam him to other countries to make piece, while using a pawn like Donald Trump as their front man. Weird explanation I didn’t quite get, but at least he put some thought into it!
After this long explanation, an audience member asked Barrowman about Christopher Eccelston, and any funny moments with him. Turns out that the short answer is, “Chris isn’t a whole lot of fun.” But what happened next was pretty awesome. The next questioner asks if any of the creatures in Doctor Who freak him out. As that question is asked, a Weeping Angel (from Doctor Who) moves down the aisle warning Barrowman of the 5 minute mark. It was pretty creepy and timely at the same time. But in answer to the girl’s question, Barrowman said that the autons freaked him out as a kid, which were the mannequin creatures from Doctor Who. He also talks about a hallway at the BBC which is lined with creature statues. He said when alone, people would sprint down the aisle, avoiding eye contact with the creatures.
The panel winds down with one last question, asking who inspired him to do what he does. Barrowman said he didn’t really have anyone in his life to provide inspiration for what he wanted to do, so he said he just tried to be himself and went out and did what he wanted to do.
As usual, John Barrowman was a lot of fun, and he is really is great at making people feel better about themselves. I really like that he is a proponent of that. It seems that a lot of the time his panels turn into joke-fests mixed with motivational speaking, which is a pretty entertaining while inspiring combination. It is great to know that he is giving back to the community which he is from, with the LGBT foster house he is building. That will be a big help to a lot of kids who feel like they are alone in the world.
But aside from the really serious aspects of the panel, Barrowman really knows how to get a crowd laughing, and take the serious moments and transition them back to fun. Violet and I have probably seen him the most in the panels we have attended over the past couple years, but he is also one of the most entertaining, and I look forward to the next one!
Our Long Beach Comic Con Comes to a Close
After the panel was over, Violet and I headed back to the Exhibit Hall again, and wandered some more. We saw some really well done Ninja Turtles, and even a Master Splinter. We kept wandering a bit, and checked out the various booths. After about a half hour, we covered most of the floor, and decided to head out. As we left, we got a few photos of the Doctor Who cosplay group photo shoot, but our Long Beach Comic Con journey was coming to an end. We headed back to the parking lot, and headed back home.
Josh’s Final Thoughts on Long Beach Comic Con 2015:
While I didn’t get a lot of time to attend Long Beach Comic Con, it was still a lot of fun. It is a nice change of pace from the behemoth that is SDCC. But even this con was pretty crowded. Getting through aisles was shoulder-to-shoulder at times. But it seemed pretty well ran for a smaller show, and it looks like it is growing just like the rest of the comic-related cons are. The people at the con were all very nice, which is one of the best things about attending these things–it brings like-minded people together for an event, and 99% of the time, all those people are awesome, and makes the experience that much better. I certainly look forward to next year’s Long Beach Comic Con, which is February, because they run it twice a year.
Violet’s Final Thoughts on Long Beach Comic Con 2015:
I keep hearing great things about Long Beach Comic Con, and for once we were finally able to attend! Even though this is the first time we’ve gone, I’ve been keeping my eye on this con, and it seems like they have been getting bigger and better each time, especially in terms of guests and programming. This year, Chloe Bennet from Agents of SHIELD was the big guest name on Saturday (although she didn’t do any panels), and John Barrowman (Arrow, Doctor Who/Torchwood) was the big draw on Sunday. Additionally, actors Peter Shinkoda and Tommy Walker from Marvel’s Daredevil participated in a panel on Saturday, while Nicholas Brendon was on a Buffy panel on Sunday. I think this is the first time that Long Beach Comic Con has had so many celebrity guests of such caliber, which certainly made us more excited about going. But the big focus of Long Beach Comic Con is comics, as over 150 of its guests were comic book writers and artists, including such recognizable names as Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Mark Silvestri! There were also writers from popular comic-based TV shows, such as Tara Butters of Agent Carter, and her husband Marc Guggenheim of Arrow.
Whereas when we go to bigger cons like San Diego Comic Con or WonderCon, we usually go to panels where we mostly just hear from the actors and directors about the making of the show, I felt like panels we attended at Long Beach Comic Con gave us an opportunity to hear more insight from the writers behind our favorite shows, much more so than we would at the larger cons. Before this weekend, I had never heard of Christos Gage. But after having seen him on both the Psychology of Daredevil panel and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer panel, I consider myself a fan. Also, although Marc Guggenheim is often in attendance at the panels for the CW shows he works on, we always hear more from the actors than from him, so it was nice to hear more from him for a change, since it was only him and his wife talking about their respective shows. Plus, it was the first time I’d gone to a panel featuring anyone from Agent Carter, so that was cool to hear directly from Tara Butters, one of the writers. Marc mentioned that last year their panel was a lot more full, and indeed I was surprised to see that the room was somewhat sparse. They thought maybe the name of the panel, “Couples Therapy,” threw people off. So maybe if next year LBCC could put the TV show names as part of the panel title, that might help.
It was also nice just being able to walk right into panels and not having to line up for hours beforehand. Of course, the exception was John Barrowman, but even then, we only got in line an hour and half early (that’s nothing by SDCC standards) and got a a pretty good seat, and really you could have probably gotten in line half an hour early and still made it in. (Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone actually got turned away). It was actually a very small room, as were all of the rooms, so the panels all felt very intimate.
I only wish that we would have had more time to devote to exploring everything LBCC had to offer. For example, we didn’t even attend any of the Space Expo panels, nor the GeekFest Film Fest. It looked like there was a lot of Saturday late afternoon/evening programming that we missed out on as well. There was actually so much programming going on each day that in some cases I had to make a choice about which panel I wanted to attend!
All in all, I had a great time at Long Beach Comic Con, and look forward to returning for Long Beach Comic Expo, which takes place February 20-21, 2016!